'Sesame Street' Divorce Series Is Too Little, Too Late for Moms Like Me (VIDEO)

Rant 14

abby cadabbyI'm ticked off at Sesame Street, but not for the reason most people are currently ticked off at Sesame Street (and/or certain people associated with Sesame Street). As a child of divorce who grew up to be a divorced parent, I'm ticked off at Sesame Street because they waited 40 years to address the topic of divorce -- 40 years!! And now that they're finally talking about it, they're really only whispering about it. See, Abby Cadabby has been designated the "Hey, let me sing you a song about how my mommy and daddy live in different houses" muppet, which is cool, cause kids love the bright pink "fairy-in-training" character. BUT don't expect to just casually switch on PBS and catch one of Abby Cadabby's divorce-related segments, because they're ONLY available online.

The hell is that about?!

As Sesame Workshop points out in a press release, “Each year about 1.5 million children confront the divorce of their parents, a transition that can be challenging for the entire family, especially young children." 1.5 million!! The release continues: “While 40 percent of families experiencing this, there are few resources to show children they are not the only ones with big questions and feelings about divorce.”

No shit, Sesame Workshop. Believe me, I'm aware of how "few resources" are out there: As a little kid, a 2-minute tune about divorce on my favorite show could've given me just the sort of validation and acknowledgement I needed. Could've done the same for my own kids, but they're too mature now for Sesame Street, so our family missed that boat entirely. And I know plenty of other parents my age who feel the same way.

Sesame Street says they tried to do the divorce thing back in '92, but test audience kids cried, so they scrapped it. What, like kids didn't cry when Mr. Hooper died?! The fire safety episode of Elmo's World scared the crap out of my then 1-year-old daughter, but, um, that's because FIRE IS SCARY. Kids still have to learn about it.

I just don't get it. Why the continuing stigma and shame surrounding children of divorce? Even pink muppet children of divorce can't be on actual television? Check out this clip ...

I mean, is this really too disturbing for TV? (You know, not counting the thing about how it's impossible to look Elmo in the eye anymore.)

What do you think about Sesame Street waiting so long to talk about divorce?

 

Image via SesameStreet/YouTube

in the news, toddler development

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Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I don't think there's any need to make little kids think that their parents marriages are going to fail. If your marriage does fail then look up the episode, no biggie.

nonmember avatar Raynn

I'm just glad I'm not the only one who remembers when Mr. Hooper died...

DieMy... DieMyDarling

I think it's a delicate subject and they probably didn't want to plant any seeds of worry or say the wrong thing...it's not childrens televisions responsibility to explain divorce to children, anyway. I think it was smart to make it optional for parents to show their children.

Craft... CraftyJenna

I think it's a really hard topic and it's great that they can address it in online episodes that people can choose to look up and watch with their children. I think you are being overly sensitive about seseme street. 

amazz... amazzonia

Sesame street, like evry other preschool program, should not eVer touch topics like divorce, gay marriage and any other social topic, it should be for kids to teach them how to count and their alphabet... Not because divorce is the norm now a days should be thought as a good thing! 

Caera Caera

Why freak out the kids whose parents can hold it together? Keep it online - if you fuck up and your marriage fails, it's there if you need it.

nonmember avatar W

Um... Even though there was a failed attempt at a divorce episode in '92 they still touched on the subject. Remember the song by the little bird in this special about his parents who live in different trees? Yeah that's a remake of a song done a long time ago. So there actually was a song showing true hope for children of divorce, like you claimed there should have been. And yes it aired on tv. They uploaded this one online (and since everyone uses the Internet what's stopping parents from showing it to their kids that way? It's even better that way because they don't have to wait for it to come on the TV and can watch at any time. The entire special is also free on iTunes.) because there are kids who would see it who aren't kids of divorce who would get sad and nervous that this would happen to their family. Death is something that happens to everyone at some point. Divorce is different. They shouldn't be compared. And what has made Sesame Street so different from other kids shows is that it touches on life topics like this and death and marriage and adoption and birth and everything like that. Sure Sesame Street is great at teaching the ABCs, but what has made it so lasting is that it has helped generations of kids with subjects parents might not be able to explain to them. Sorry to rant, but next time please do all research before slamming a great organization like Sesame Workshop.

Momma... MommaGreenhalge

Not so much a taboo subject, but maybe a PG one. There are some things a kid should learn with a parent to discuss it with, and not sitting in front of the TV while Mommy does laundry. I'm pretty careful even with PBS because I want to know what my kids are learning about and how. And so I can have some sort of connection when my five year old says random out of thr blue things.

ashes... ashes2ashes831

Why should my children be exposed to the worry and stress of divorce? My husband and I are happily married. They "hear" enough kids at school discussing it, that I've had to explain what it is. My then kindergartener was upset for a while....if your marriage falls apart writer you CLEARLY have access to the internet go online. Seriously your expecting a children's show to explain divorce? ?

Meredith Kasten Zolty

Here's a Sesame Street song about divorce from way back when Jim Henson was still performing Kermit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W-QDgiEsmU

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